Sunday, July 15, 2007

Grad School Blogging

In honor of the 100 year anniversary of Einstein's 1905 papers, the United Nations classified 2005 as the "Year of Physics". In commemoration of this distinction, the American Physical Society set up blogs for over 20 physicists to talk about their daily lives throughout the year. I was particularly interested in the blogs by American graduate students. In that spirit, I thought I would start a line of blog entries that are particularly about my life as a graduate student in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering. I currently work on applying the latest in sensors technology to analyze the condensation collected from cooling human breath. Although this may seem obscure, it is one of the leading new areas of medical research. We are looking at analyzing breath to determine if the tested subject has been working with explosives in the past few weeks. Using our technique, we are hoping to implement this technology at ports or entry (airports, seaports, border crossings) to filter out potential people of interest. Instead of going after the bomber, we are looking for the bomb maker himself. I feel that this area of research will enable me to work in an area that will directly help people. With any luck, breath condensate analysis will lead to anti-terror techniques, new ways to diagnose the sick, stop the spread of infectious diseases, and ultimately raise the standard of living for people around the world. Ok, I know that's really optimistic but I really hope it happens.

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